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Tee Eva’s Pralines & Pies
Though she worked in food service for many years in her earlier adulthood, Eva Perry’s professional life didn’t blossom until 1989, when at fifty-five years old she established Tee Eva’s Pralines & Pies. It was while watching the Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme blackening redfish on television that she realized that she, too, had a culture and a talent to market. After all, Eva had learned her trade from a long line of country cooks—while she grew up in New Orleans, both sides of her family were bayou Creoles. Her sweet tooth had been well-established during childhood. Some of her best memories were of her aunt’s lemon icebox pie and bread pudding; of making pralines with just-gathered pecans and brown sugar straight from the mill; and of the frozen icees she purchased for a penny from a Greek-owned store in her neighborhood.
Eventually she graduated to sno-balls. When she was a child, that meant a pile of coarse, hand-scraped ice flavored with either strawberry, spearmint, or pineapple syrup. Back then, there were just three flavors. You could find many times that amount at Tee Eva’s Pralines & Pies, which Eva passed down to her granddaughter, Keonna Thornton Sykes, in 2003. Eva passed away on June 7, 2018 at the age of eighty-three. The storefront on Magazine Street closed in November 2018.